Do you have a loved one who was diagnosed with a terminal illness? Mesothelioma – a fatal disease caused by exposure to asbestos – is often caused by inhaling asbestos fibers at the workplace, a situation that could have been prevented. This can cause a lot of anger toward those who are responsible.
While many people deal with a mesothelioma diagnosis in different ways, you can provide helpful support when they need it the most.
After the diagnosis
One of the fears with a cancer diagnosis, especially a terminal one like mesothelioma, is that once the information is out, every conversation will be about the cancer. Remember that your loved one still has interests and concerns other than his or her illness. If you start to notice your friend or family member seeming frustrated with talking only about health matters, try to steer conversations to other topics unless your loved one wants to talk about it.
After someone finds out they have cancer from exposure that may have happened at work, there may be a lot of anger they need to work through. While this puts you in a difficult position as you try to provide support, this is a good time to develop your own support network. Consider joining a support group. These can be helpful friends and family members as well as organized groups developed especially for those dealing with mesothelioma.
Even those without a diagnosis struggle
It can be easy to dismiss the frustration and fear that haunts a person who was exposed to asbestos and does not have a mesothelioma diagnosis. You would think they would be relieved that they don’t have a terminal diagnosis hanging over their head.
The reality, however, is quite different. People who were exposed to asbestos and don’t have a mesothelioma diagnosis often deal with a lot of the same emotions as people who are diagnosed, but for different reasons. For some, there is a perpetual fear that, although there is no diagnosis today, there could be one around the corner. For others, there is the guilt that they were exposed and didn’t get sick, but a coworker did.
It can be difficult to continue to give emotional support to a loved one who is suffering. However, quality of life dramatically improves for people who are able to get the support and care that they need.